Saturday, October 23, 2004

Tribute to the ZX Spectrum+

Exactly 20 years ago, a home computer was introduced that would eventually transform several lives...primarily mine. It was the ZX Spectrum+...powered by a 3.54 MHz Zilog Z80A CPU, 16K of RAM and a display of 256 x 192 pixel resolution on the television monitor. It was introduced in India a couple of years later with a different name- dB Spectrum+.

My Dad, who was terribly concerned about his kids obsession with soccer, cricket and tennis, introduced us to computers hoping to get us concentrate better on our studies. He took my brother and me to a local computer store (Computer Point, Dickenson Road, Bangalore) and entrusted the sales guy to teach us something about computers. No sooner did Dad leave to run some errands, our new instructor loaded a game of cricket on the computer and had us experiment with the game using the keyboard.

We absolutely loved the game and the machine. Never had blinking lights on a television monitor enamoured us brothers more before this. India's TV media was still state-controlled at that time, and besides the sunday afternoon star trek, there was no real entertainment broadcast on the only channel available. When Dad returned, we harrassed him to no end to buy the machine, citing educational aspects of the computer (which we never availed). We got the computer...and also a free game of cricket and practical chemistry-I which I never recall having ever loaded.

As days passed, we spent more time indoors playing games...actually mostly loading games from the tape cassettes which took horrendously long times to load as compared to todays hard drives, cds and yesteryears cartridges.

The ZX Spectrum+ a was very sensitive device. Long periods of usage would get it to automatically reboot..which would require us to restart the lengthy loading period. I however enjoyed my many hours of playing pacman, maziacs, bricks, enduro racer, renegade, bombjack and several others that my fading memory doesnt recall.

I came across a post of the ZX Spectrum clones on slashdot. The ZX spectrum still lives on :) Infact, My office mate- Ben Kolin actually has simulators of the ZX spectrum. The sight of the (c) 1982, Sinclair ZX spectrum on his monitor got a tear out of my myopic eyes.

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